Fall 2014 Newsletter | Biology | Marquette University




van der Bliek Seminar LunchGraduate Students from the Department of Biological Sciences hosted the Graduate Student -Invited Speaker Event for the Fall 2014 seminar series on October 10th.  Dr. Alex van der Bliek from UCLA was invited by graduate students as the guest lecturer for the event. In addition to an exceptional seminar entitled Stress Regulation of Mitochondrial Fission and Fusion, Dr. van der Bliek also spent time with graduate students at an informal talk about career paths and planning.


When asked what was most useful from the informal talk with Dr. van der Bliek, first-year graduate student Naoki Shimoyama responded, “It was important to hear what someone in the field sees when they’re reviewing or submitting a grant.”


The success of this event will be built upon by the integration of a graduate student-invited speaker event into the department seminar series each year, where students will manage each aspect of inviting and hosting a speaker.


Graduate student representative Meghan Fealey commented on the future direction of the event, saying, “Hosting someone is a really important skill and we want to implement this into the curriculum so that students get experience hosting during their PhD.”

Meghan elaborated on the impact of the new addition to the curriculum, adding, “Whether in industry or academia, all students need to learn how to communicate professionally.”




Ever wonder what a day in the life a graduate student might look like? Graduate student Yi Liu used time-lapse photography to record a whole day he spent in the lab. Yi was cultivating a Chlamydomonas (green algae) temperature-sensitive mutant and a wild type strain (as a control). At a specific time point, he collected both strains and used florescent imaging to analyze how a microtubule-associated protein (called EB1) was behaving differently in the mutant. Yi then prepared protein samples from both strains and analyzed them with a Western Blot to see how the abundance of EB1 had changed in the mutant cell.





Tiezheng Li and Dale Noel


Graduate student, Tiezheng Li, and his mentor Dr. Dale Noel attended the FASEB Microbial Glycobiology Conference in Itasca, IL in June 2014. Tiezheng presented his poster on “Unorthodox synthesis of N-acetyl-D-quinovosamine coordinated with the initiation of O-antigen biosynthesis in Rhizobium etli CE3”.


Tiezheng learned firsthand how important meeting people at conferences focused on specific research areas is to networking and future job opportunities. Since Tiezheng was graduating soon, he knew he wanted to find a postdoc position in the Washington DC area. At this meeting, he paid special attention to professors and researchers from that part of the country. Tiezheng met a principle investigator at the FDA, and was able to get connections through him for a number of labs and principle investigators in the glycobiology field. Tiezheng was able to secure a postdoctoral fellowship with one of these potential mentors. Dr. Tiezheng Li (Ph.D. ’14) is now a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Lai-Xi Wang’s lab at University Maryland School of Medicine, The Institute of Human Virology.



Vera Strogolova attended a Midwest Yeast Meeting in Northwestern University, Illinois in September, with other members of the Stuart lab. She presented a poster titled "Role of Rcf1 and Rcf2 in regulation of respiration".


Prince Mathai attended the 114th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology at Boston, MA from May 17-20, 2014. He presented a poster there titled “Quantitative Significance of Syntrophic Propionate Degrading Bacteria in Anaerobic Digestion Processes”.


Josh Hakala went to the 8th Annual Center for Human Immunology Symposium at the Blood Research Institute in Milwaukee on Sep. 25th. He also attended the Midwest Enzyme Chemistry Conference at Northwestern University, IL on Sep. 27th, as well as the 36th Steenbock Symposium : Enzyme Structure and Function in Madison, WI from May 22-24.


Carmela Rios and Dr. Alison Abbott attended the Germ Cells meeting held at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, October 7-11, 2014. Carmela presented a poster titled “Identification of microRNA functions in the control of ovulation in C. elegans.”
Waltz of the Polypeptides: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Created by New York City-based artist Mara G. Haseltine, the eighty foot long, ten foot high sculpture depicts a subcellular protein factory called a ribosome caught in the act of producing the BLyS protein, which stimulates the production of infection-fighting antibodies in the body.




Jerrin Cherian from Mumbai, India graduated with an M. Tech degree (2012) in Biotechnology from Padmashree Dr. D. Y. Patil University.


Audra Kramer from Ames, IA comes back to MU with a B.S. (2010) in Biochemistry and French from Marquette University, and an M.S. (2014) in Neuroscience from MCW.


Douglas Lyke from Edgerton, WI has a B.S. (2013) in Biology-Cell Physiology from UW-Whitewater.


Katie Maniates from Norton Shores, MI graduated with a B.S. (2014) in Biology and Public Health from St. Catherine University.


Naoki Shimoyama from Milwaukee, WI earned his B.S. (2011) in Biology at Valparaiso University, and his M.S. (2014) in Biomedical Sciences at UWM.


Michael Walsh from Bridgeview, IL graduated with a B.S. (2014) in Biochemistry at Purdue University – West Lafayette.


Derek Yeh from Wheaton, IL graduated from Drake University with a B.S. (2014) in Neuroscience and Psychology.




Cassie Nelson, Ph.D. August 2014

Advisor: Dr. Robert Fitts

Dissertation: Cross bridge mechanisms of skeletal muscle fatigue: effects of hydrogen ion, inorganic phosphate, and age


Deepa Valsangkar, Ph.D. August 2014

Advisor: Dr. Stephen Downs

Dissertation: The Role of PRKA-mediated Stimulation of Fatty Acid Oxidation in the Meiotic Maturation of Mouse Oocytes


Tiezheng Li, Ph.D. August 2014

Advisor: Dr. Dale Noel

Dissertation: Coordination of primer sugar synthesis with o-antigen initiation in Rhizobium etli CE3


Yi Lin, Ph.D. August 2014

Advisor: Dr. Martin St. Maurice

Dissertation: The Structural and Functional Studies of Urea Amidolyase



Charles O’Hara Scholarship

Prince Mathai was awarded the Charles O’Hara Scholarship to attend the “Strategies and Techniques for Analyzing Microbial Population Structure” course at Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA) from August 6-16, 2014.

 Jobling Travel Awards

Alexis Onderak will attend the Rustbelt RNA Meeting in October where she will present her poster: “The RNA helicase Skiv212 works to maintain pluripotency and self-proliferation in stem cells”.


Xiaoyan Zhu and Yi Liu are both attending the American Society of Cell Biology annual meeting this December in Philadelphia. Yi will present 2 posters: “The dynamics of EB1 in Chlamydomonas flagella” and “Induced changes in the dynamics of EB1-mNeonGreen and microtubules in Chlamydomonas”. Xiaoyan will present her work on: “The pleiotropic phenotypes of a Chlamydomonas mutant defective in a flagellar nucleoside diphosphate kinase.”


Michael Mashock received both a Jobling Award, and a matching grant from the Graduate School to attend the 35th Annual Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Conference in Vancouver, BC Canada.








Biological Sciences Department

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